BT has won a £100m, seven year, contract to provide voice and high-speed data connectivity between the BBC’s 21 broadcasting centres and local radio stations.
Provided by BT Media and Broadcast, the network will carry all video, audio and data traffic, as well as fixed line telephony, ISDN and broadband services and also connect to the main overseas bureaux and the BBC’s partners to enable playout of its TV channels.
The BBC says the network, which replaces a system provided by Vodafone UK, will be “be more efficient, flexible, and better able to support BBC innovation.”
According to the broadcaster, the system will allow extra services and capacity to be added for major events, such as a general election or the Olympics, more easily and at a lower cost than with the current system.
In addition, the BT system will “make it easier for the BBC to work with and explore emerging, data-hungry formats – like Ultra HD (4K), 360-degree content, and others yet to be invented.”
The BBC says the deal with BT is worth over £100m for seven years, with an option for the BBC to extend for a further three and claims it’ll make “a significant contribution to the BBC’s savings targets”.
Matthew Postgate, Chief Technology Officer at the BBC, said: “This is an important step towards building an internet-fit BBC and will allow us to provide more interactive and personalised content in the future.
“At a time when the BBC faces serious financial challenges, it will also save us tens of millions of pounds so we can focus more of our money on the programmes and services for licence fee payers.”
Mark Wilson-Dunn, Global Vice President of BT Media and Broadcast, said: “We are delighted by the BBC’s decision to choose us as their next generation broadcast network partner.
“Both of our organisations have a vital part to play in making the best use of advanced technology to support and enable the ever-accelerating evolution of broadcast media.”